Castle, S4 Ep17 – Once Upon A Crime

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This is the Castle that I know and love: lighthearted in overall mood, reasonably fast-paced, and smaller in scope than the last two episodes. When it’s not dealing with the overarching mystery, I just prefer the episodes wherein this show doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Little Red

Where's the huntsman when you need him?

We open on a dark night with a full moon. There’s a young woman in a red cloak running through the forest. The woman’s red cloak billows out behind her — and then she trips and falls. Something rushes toward her, and she screams. But before you start to wonder if you’re watching Once Upon A Time by accident somehow, we segue expertly to Martha, reciting, “She screamed as the pain ripped through her, and in between each labored breath she thought, ‘There is no way in hell I am having this baby on a subway train in the Bronx!’” We’re at Castle’s apartment. Rick is supremely unimpressed at the supremely over-dramatized version of Martha’s life that she’s dictating to Marcus, a young playwright tasked with writing her story. He complains of this further invasion of his life (in addition to Alexis’ internship with Lanie) to Beckett, who replies simply, “You’ll get used to it. I did.” Ha! Nice one, Beckett.

Castle and Beckett join Lanie next to the body, remarking on the claw marks on her face and body. They wonder if there is an animal in Central Park that could have mauled the victim to death, but Lanie isn’t sure that’s the cause of death. Meanwhile, Castle is confused as to why they even need an ID to know who the victim is: she’s obviously Little Red Riding Hood. When Beckett dismisses this, Castle shoots back, “Do you have a better theory?” To which, of course, Beckett must concede for the moment. She tells Ryan to check with dispatch for any reports of wild animals on the loose. Ryan wants to know if she’s referring to, say, a particularly big bad wolf.

Back at the precinct, Rick is reading aloud from the fairytale to Kate from his phone, from when Little Red is getting eaten. She remarks that in the original story, Red doesn’t die: the huntsman cuts her out of the wolf’s stomach, and then Red kills the wolf. Castle is impressed that she knows Grimm’s original version. Esposito informs them then that their victim really was Little Red Riding Hood. At Beckett’s skeptical response, he clarifies that she was wearing an actual Red Riding Hood costume. He has an ID on her, too: her name is Amy Morgan, and her sister Leslie is on the way in.

Leslie and her husband Darren are bewildered that Amy was found in Central Park dressed up as Little Red. Apparently, Amy was usually very busy at her lawyer job, and didn’t even have time for a boyfriend. (I note the second time around that Darren stares at the photo of the Red Riding Hood cloak for a bit too long.) But the two sisters usually talked every day, and Leslie hadn’t heard from her all week.

Beckett says ew

"Research. Right. You freak."

Beckett tells Castle a few minutes later that Ryan checked with dispatch, and the only report of any animal loose in Central Park is a beagle named Fred. Hee! (I bet it was one of those black market beagles.) Then Castle floats the theory that Amy had a secret hobby to let off steam from her high-stress job: adult role-players who are obsessed with fairytales. Beckett gives him an awesome look, and he adds, “Not that kind of adult role-play … although there is that one, too.” She wants to know how he knows this, and his answer is — predictably — that he’s done a little bit of research. Beckett looks revolted as Castle gets a far-off look in his eyes. Heh. Once again, nicely played by Fillion and Katic.

Esposito joins the two at this point to inform them that Amy’s financials show an all-cash withdrawal of $50,605 from her savings account four days ago. Not only is that a bizarre amount, but it’s not at her apartment or tied to any recent purchases. This is where I jumped immediately to blackmail. But story-wise, it’s not time for the characters to make that conclusion, so we move on to Lanie’s latest news. She found some wolf hair on the body — which at first makes Castle think his Big Bad Wolf theory wasn’t so far off. Then she crushes his hopes by telling him that the claw marks seem to have been made by only one claw. Thus, the gashes were made by a human killer using a wolf claw, to try to make it look like a wolf killed Amy. Lanie found needle marks on Amy, ran a tox screen, and found ketamine and oxycodone in Amy’s blood. She theorizes that the killer knocked the girl out with ketamine, dressed her in the costume, but then when Amy woke up and ran away, the killer chased her down and finished her off with the oxycodone.

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